Iron County Progressive

 September 21, 2021

ICYMI: Secretary of Education in the Badger State

MADISON, Wis. — This week, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited several schools in Wisconsin as he affirmed the Biden administration’s commitment to building back better in the Badger state. This latest visit by a Biden-Harris administration official comes just a week after First Lady Jill Biden spoke with parents and educators at an elementary school in Milwaukee last week.

On Monday, Secretary Cardona visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus and Locust Lane Elementary School in Eau Claire. The secretary spoke with students about their return to school and discussed the importance of bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read more about the secretary’s trip here:

Wisconsin State Journal: U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits UW-Madison

“The return to school this year is more special than ever, after many of our nation’s students have been disconnected from their peers, educators, classrooms, school communities and learning routines for over a year,” Cardona said in a statement.


School of Education Dean Diana Hess, who joined the students, Chancellor Rebecca Blank, Gov. Tony Evers and Cardona on the terrace, said the program helps small school districts who struggle to hire special education teachers and must turn to untrained individuals with emergency teaching licenses.

“One of the things we set out to do in the Biden administration is really lift up the profession,” Cardona said.

Spectrum News: U.S. Secretary of Education begins ‘Return to School Road Trip’ in Wisconsin 

Students, parents, and teachers will join the secretary as he spends this week on the road to get a first-hand look at how students are returning to school, whether that’s an elementary classroom or a college campus.

During a visit to the UW-Madison campus, Secretary Cardona asked students in the special education teaching program for advice he could take back to Washington, D.C., and consider when crafting policy.


 September 24, 2021

SHOT/CHASER: GOP Fails On COVID While President Biden, Democrats Show Pandemic Leadership

SHOT: Over the course of the pandemic, Wisconsin Republicans have relentlessly undermined the advice of public health and medical professionals by spreading dangerous misinformation, flouting necessary safety protocols, and attempting to block leaders like Gov. Evers from protecting Wisconsinites. 

The Washington Post: Republicans maneuver to block vaccine mandates, undercutting a policy widely seen as an effective tool to end pandemic

  • Beyond mandates, Republican lawmakers have also stayed largely silent in the face of rampant vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories… Other high-profile Republicans have been harbingers of vaccine misinformation themselves, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

CBS Milwaukee: Wisconsin doctors ask Sen. Johnson to stop push for Ivermectin as COVID-19 cure

  • “It shames me to see our senator pushing false cures and conspiracy theories when we know how to prevent this disease,” said Dr. Rebecca Beach, a family medicine physician in Richland Center. “Physicians in Wisconsin and across the country have been working overtime for the past year and a half to treat COVID and to try to figure out how to best deal with it when someone does fall ill, including using ventilators when they are needed to save lives — when they sometimes are the only thing that can save a life. Sen. Johnson, who is not a doctor, is trying to undermine this work, and I find that frustrating beyond belief.”

CHASER: In sharp contrast, even as they’ve been met with a chorus of unhinged conspiracy theories and blatant disregard for science, President Biden and Gov. Evers are carrying out a strategic and informed pandemic response — and voters are supportive of and thankful for their leadership.

Monmouth University Polling Institute: Majority Back Vaccine, Mask Mandates

  • A majority of Americans support the vaccine mandates announced by President Joe Biden last week amid rising concerns about the chance of catching Covid. According to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll, the public also supports instituting guidelines for masking and social distancing in their state as well as requiring people to show proof of vaccination for certain activities, such as boarding an airplane or going to the office. 

Morning Consult: White House’s COVID-19 Vaccination Mandates Have the Support of About 3 in 5 Americans

  • The poll shows that while 58 percent of U.S. adults are in favor of vaccination mandates or weekly testing for employees at businesses with at least 100 workers — a key tenet of the new plan — there’s a massive partisan gap, with 80 percent of Democrats and 33 percent of Republicans supporting such a requirement. 
  • Most Americans also back other major pieces of the new plan: 62 percent are in favor of encouraging states to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all school employees; 60 percent support a vaccination mandate for most health care workers without the ability to opt out through regular testing; and 56 percent support the same rule for most federal workers and contractors.

Fox News: Fox News Poll: Majorities favor mask and vaccine mandates as pandemic worries increase

  • Majorities support mask and vaccine mandates advocated by the Biden administration, as the coronavirus pandemic remains a top concern, according to the latest Fox News poll.
  • Sizable majorities believe face masks (69%) and vaccines (65%) are effective and favor a range of mandates and requirements.


Weekly News From Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair





Leadership—good leadership—starts with listening.


Governor Evers listens. President Biden listens. Donald Trump? Ron Johnson? They never listen.


Leadership informs vision. Vision shapes action. Action changes the world. 


This week, a tremendous leader visited our state: Stacey Abrams, who spent a decade building a blue tide in Georgia; ran for governor of Georgia in 2018; and then launched Fair Fight Action, which played an absolutely essential role in protecting the vote in Wisconsin and nationwide in 2020. Without her visionary leadership, Trump could very well have won the presidential election—certainly in Georgia, and also in states like Wisconsin, where she helped us launch a world-class voter protection operation that protected the voting freedoms of tens of thousands of Wisconsinites. 


First Vice Chair Felesia Martin, DNC Representative Martha Love, I, and many other Democratic Party leaders had the opportunity to attend. The story of her life’s work is the story of someone who has listened, developed a vision, and taken action, in ever-larger ways. And in listening to her, we inform our own vision, and in turn our own plans of action. 


This weekend, we’ll be listening to voters everywhere across the state. Our September Weekend of Action is this Saturday and Sunday -- and we’ll be listening to people about what matters most to them. We’re going to knock on doors, make calls, and reach out to infrequent voters whose decisions could determine the outcomes of the 2022 elections. Through listening, we’re going to connect, build relationships, and inspire these voters to get involved and take action. 


We know this is how we make change -- by forming a real connection with voters. And it’s how we build our collective vision for the future of Wisconsin. It’s the essence of democracy.


We’d love to have you join us! Sign up here.


In solidarity,







Health Care Professionals Blast Ron Johnson and WI GOP For Prolonging Pandemic


This week, State Representative Sara Rodriguez, Emergency Medicine Physician Dr. Rachel Hughes, and OB/GYN Dr. Kristin Lyerly blasted Ron Johnson for prolonging the pandemic with his dangerous rhetoric discouraging Wisconsinites from getting vaccinated and pushing alternative and unproven treatments.




State Representative Sara Rodriguez: “As a state Representative, registered nurse, and former Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the CDC, I know about science and using science to make data-based decisions to keep our community safe through common-sense legislation. It is an absolute disgrace that Senator Ron Johnson and the Wisconsin GOP continue to place politics before people’s lives and livelihoods by undermining medical professionals, like we have on this panel today. Senator Ron Johnson owes every Wisconsin family an apology. It is his partisan opposition to Democrats’ recovery efforts that have prolonged this pandemic. We’ve lost too many Wisconsinites and lost too much time to this virus.”


Emergency Medicine Physician Dr. Rachel Hughes: “There are people in hospitals across the state because they listened to Senator Johnson. I have had patients diagnosed with COVID who very much regret not getting vaccinated because they listened to his statements and other people like him; at that point it’s too late for them and it’s too late for their families. Sometimes it’s not because of COVID but because of some of the dangerous unproven treatments like Ivermectin that Ron Johnson pushes to take instead of the vaccine. He is wasting people’s lives by being a public health risk.”


OB/GYN Dr. Kristin Lyerly: “All the efforts that my fellow health care providers and I are taking to keep our communities safe are being undermined by people like Ron Johnson, who from the start of this pandemic, has only used his platform to prolong the COVID pandemic by spreading disinformation and fear. Nearly every day he is taking to radio, TV, and social media -- wherever he can speak -- to discourage people from getting vaccinated and to discourage people from protecting themselves and the people they love. Senator Johnson insists on playing malicious self-serving political games that are quite literally costing lives. It’s clear Senator Johnson doesn’t care about us and that his rhetoric is killing people.”


Wisconsin Redistricting Action


This week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court granted the conservative group Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty’s petition for original action to hear its redistricting case. This means the state Supreme Court might well determine Wisconsin’s legislative maps in the very likely scenario that Republicans propose unfair maps that Governor Tony Evers is forced to veto. By agreeing to draw the maps, the Wisconsin Supreme Court made a decision to dive headfirst into partisan politics -- something the conservative justices had advised against previously. Meanwhile, also this week, a federal court asked the parties involved in a federal lawsuit about the maps to lay out a proposed timeline to finalize maps before March 1, 2022. It remains to be seen what different roles the Republican-dominated state Supreme Court and the federal courts will play, but one thing is certain: there will be more twists and turns as this process continues.

Also, Republicans in the legislature introduced a joint resolution that is an attempt to retain their already rigged maps and make it harder for Wisconsin voters to elect leaders who share their values. People should choose their elected officials, not the other way around. The process of drawing legislative maps should be fair, transparent, and nonpartisan -- but as we’ve seen, Republicans will stop at nothing to hold onto power. We will continue to fight them every step of the way.




Events Unfolding at U.S. Southern Border


Our country’s greatest strengths have been built on the promise of welcoming immigrants and celebrating diverse communities. Unfortunately, the treatment of Haitian migrants at the U.S. southern border go against that very promise. The violence and inhumane abuse we’re seeing is horrifying and unacceptable, and echoes a long anti-Black history of brutal actions against Haitian people. While the federal government investigates the incidents that generated the gut-wrenching images seen across the country in recent days, we must remain committed to advocating just treatment for all who seek asylum and refuge in America. Every single person, from every race and nationality, deserves to be treated with respect and dignity — and the WisDems community will continue to champion that fundamental value.